Serving Up Safe Buffets
Easy Tips for Food Safety When Entertaining
Entertaining is one of the mainstays of the holiday season – and helps commemorate milestone events throughout the year, too. With proper prep, you can be creative and tempt your party guests with an array of fun platters … while still keeping food safety in mind!
Plan a “bacteria–free buffet” with these helpful tips:
If you're planning a buffet at home and are not sure how quickly the food will be eaten, keep buffet serving portions small.
Hot foods should be kept at an internal temperature of 140° F or warmer.
Cold foods should be kept at 40° F or colder.
Keep It Fresh
Don't add new food to an already-filled serving dish.
Watch the Clock
Remember the 2-Hour Rule: Discard any perishables left out at room temperature for more than two hours, unless you're keeping it hot or cold.
Celebrate The Four Simples Steps to Food Safety!
As you prepare for your party, remember these general tips:
Adapt “Old Family Recipes” Safely!
Some of your favorite traditional recipes may call for raw or lightly cooked eggs. These may include homemade Caesar salad dressing, ice cream, custards, rice pudding, chocolate mousse, eggnog, and some sauces.
However, some raw eggs can contain harmful bacteria. These can be particularly dangerous when consumed by those at higher risk for foodborne illness -- such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those who may have a compromised immune system.
Help keep your party guests safe by adapting your favorite egg-containing recipes (or substituting prepared products for some items). Here’s how:
- Add the eggs to the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, then heat the mixture until it reaches 160° F on a food thermometer.
- Use store–bought products of the foods listed above, which are often already cooked or pasteurized. (Check the label to be sure.)
- Purchase pasteurized eggs. These eggs can be found in some supermarkets and are labeled "pasteurized." Here are several types consumers can buy:
- Fresh, pasteurized eggs in the shell (found in the refrigerator section).
- Liquid, pasteurized egg products (found in the refrigerator section).
- Frozen, pasteurized egg products (found in the frozen food section).
- Powdered egg whites (found in the baking section).